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Articles Home » Music Talk » Thousand Below Interview with Devin Chance
Thousand Below Interview with Devin Chance

Thousand Below

Interview with Devin Chance

September 15, 2018

By Nina McCarthy


Thousand Below walk a fine, almost illusory line. Deftly balancing atmospheric and airy instrumentation, thoughtful emotionality, and just the right amount of hard-hitting hypnosis, the Southern California quintet—James DeBerg [vocals], Devin Chance [guitar], Josh Thomas [guitar], Josh Billimoria [bass], and Garrett Halvax [drums]—descend into the dreamy depths of loss, love, and life reflected in art.”--Quoted from the TB biography



Arriving at The Met In Pawtucket, RI, I contacted frontman, Jimmy, to connect for our interview.  Sadly, he was ill and just leaving the local Urgent Care and headed to the pharmacy prior to the night’s show.  A lovely young lady that worked with the band took me into the green room to have a chat with guitarist, Devin Chance, in his absence.  See what Devin had to say about their full-length debut, The Love You Let Too Close, the emotional topic of their songs, and his personal advice to other musicians.



BRR:  Thousand Below is a new and upcoming band, so can you just acquaint us a little with the history of the band for those who haven’t heard of you yet?


DC:  Thousand Below started two years ago in San Diego.  Two of the members, Garrett and Jimmy, were in a band called Outlands on Tragic Hero Records. Things didn’t work out for them so they did as all musicians typically do and they started their own band.  They got Josh Thomas, Josh Billimoria, and Jimmy, and they were the four founding members.  I joined a few months after they started writing music. I was playing in a band outside of Dallas but I decided that I liked this project more.  We wrote an EP, shopped it around, got management, got a record label, wrote a CD and released it and have been doing our best to tour since then.


BRR:  Your debut full length album, The Love You Let Too Close, is now available.  What has been the response?


DC:  We’ve gotten a really good response.  People seem to enjoy a lot of aspects about it.  There were things I was anxious about when we first released the CD, but they turned out to actually work in our favor.  It turned out people really liked the authenticity and the level of brutal honesty that came with some of the lyrics.  Each song is written about things that have taken place in Jimmy’s life and our lives.  There’s meaning in every song.  It’s not just a record about breaking up with someone.  There’s songs in there about drug addiction, suicide, a lot of heavy topics there that I feel need to be addressed more in society, especially with a lot of recent deaths and suicides, including celebrities, our role models, and it has impact, so now is the time to discuss it.  So, the reception has been nice and people seem to like it and we’re grateful.


BRR:  I know the track “Vein” is extremely personal to Jimmy because it’s based on a tragic life-changing moment in his life.  Can you reveal a little more about this experience?


DC:  “Vein” isn’t about one person or one moment.  You can read a lot of details from Jimmy’s mouth on Alternative Press.  There should be a link on there, including the video, going into more detail.  “Vein,” and a couple other tracks, were partially inspired by the death of his best friend, Darius.  It’s a really heavy topic and I feel like maybe it’s not my place to go too far into it.  If anyone is curious about the meaning, they can honestly message us and we’d be happy to discuss it with them...or come out to a show and we’d talk with them about it and Alternative Press has the whole article detailing the story behind the song.


[Jimmy returned from Urgent Care by the end of the interview and I was able to get a little more depth answer on this question.]


JD:  That song is the focus on the drug aspect of everything because my friend did commit suicide, but he was badly involved in a pretty gnarly drug problem that was long going.  First of all, we wanted to make a heavy song.  We were like, “Let’s make a cool, heavy, metalcore song,” and then we wrote the end of that and thought it didn’t really fit.  But I thought it was cool that we had kind of an emotional ending to what I would call a pretty generic metal song.  I thought that made it a little more unique.  In the beginning there is the buildup, then the anger and frustration, and then it breaks down into that emotional moment at the end.  I feel like that song tells a good story of frustration.  It’s spelled out in there, about the drug problem and how it affects us.  I feel like that song plots out the emotions pretty accurately.


BRR:  I did get into it with Devin how all the songs really have a positive message in the end.  There’s always somebody there.


JD:  Definitely.  And I’m glad you got to talk to Devin because today has been a rough one for me.



[Continuing on with my conversation with Devin]


BRR:  Drug abuse and mental illness are out of control.  This is really deep, but I think “Vein” does leave us with a positive message, as does the the whole album actually.  What do you want listeners to take away from hearing it?


DC:  A lot of people viewed the album at first glance, like, “This is a bunch of sad shit.  It’s really depressing, blah, blah, blah.”  But, I feel like that is not a bad thing.  Listening to songs that talk about heavy material or dark subject matter doesn’t have to be a negative experience for the listener.  We want people that are going through those things to know that you’re not alone. There are tons of other people out there that understand what they are going through and care about them.  Even in the darkest periods of our own lives, we are never really the only ones suffering.  There’s always going to be people out there that give a shit and care.  We all care.  Every night we get to talk to people and hear their stories and hear how they related it to our record and ask them how they’ve been doing.  It’s not just supposed to be something depressing, more so just a way for us to kind of get it out of our heads and give people something to relate to, let them know that it gets better and it generally does.


BRR:  Like the lyrics in “Tradition,”...“I’ll keep singing, I’ll keep breathing.”


DC:  Exactly.


BRR:  Touring to this extent is pretty new to you guys, right?


DC:  Somewhat.  This is as fifth tour as this band, but before Thousand Below, Jimmy and Garrett were in that band Outlands and they did a couple tours.  I was working for them as a merch guy/guitar tech kind of dude, so I’d tag along with them on tour.  We’ve been doing the US touring thing for awhile.  We just got to go to Europe recently for the first time and that was mind blowing.  It’s great to look back and see how far we’ve come.  I still have pictures of me touring in the back of an Astro van when I was 17 playing DIY hardcore shows and making no money and just having a terrible time, but it was worth it in the long run.


BRR:  Are there any lessons, advantages, disadvantages, that sort of thing that you learned along the way?


DC:  Yes.  The best thing you can do is keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, work hard, be humble, take the time to talk to your fans, take time to engage with the other artists you work with.  There are a lot of egos in the music industry.  The more you can avoid the ego, the easier it is going to be for you.  A lot of people think being edgy or douchy may attract attention, and “all press is good press,” as everyone likes to say, but there is only so much truth to that.  It’s far more effective to just try your best to be a good dude while you’re working in this industry.  There are plenty of dirtbags out there and they are one by one getting weeded out and that’s a beautiful thing to see.


BRR:  I been on a rant about egos this week and I completely agree with your words. Speaking of talking to your fans, I met Ded last year and I admire how they interact with their fans.  I can’t express how important that is.


DC:  We love touring with Ded.  They are some of the most friendly dudes.  In fact, this entire tour package is very outgoing, very friendly, very personable.  The dudes in Blessthefall, The Word Alive, and Ded have all taken us under their wing.  A War Within has been such a pleasant experience to work with as opener.  It’s absolutely a great package.


BRR:  What’s next for Thousand Below after this tour?


DC:  After this tour, we have three weeks off and then we are going on another tour in Europe.  We’re going out with Never Say Die, Northlane, Being As An Ocean, and a whole riff of other fantastic artists.  We’re really excited for that and looking forward to it.  That’s about four or five weeks and then we come home and I think we’re doing a tour with Capsize, just a little west coast run for about 2 weeks.  We’re hoping to get in the studio soon after that, but again we haven’t actually locked anything in.  That’s just kind of one of our goals.  We might up actually doing another tour, but it’s kind of up in the air starting in the beginning of 2019.


BRR:  So writing, is probably a continuous process?


DC:  Exactly.  We are constantly writing.  We’re writing on tour.  We’re writing at home.  We’re excited to get another record going.


BRR:  Great.  This has been kind of a deep conversation, so I’d like to just ask a few fun questions to lighten the mood and get to know a little more about you personally.

Your go to snack on tour?


DC:  When I’m driving, sunflower seeds.  It keeps me up, it keeps me doing something, and they’re just so tasty.


BRR:  And you make a mess?


DC:  I have a little spit cup that I chuck out but at the next stop there’s seeds all down the side of the van, so yeah, there’s always a mess.  We like Cheese Its a lot too.  We all have a major issue with how much coffee we drink, so Starbucks...I don’t know if that counts as a snack, but that’s pretty much our number 1 go to, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.  We stock up on as much cold brew and all that stuff.


BRR:  That answers my next question, coffee or energy drinks?


DC:  I can’t do energy drinks.  It’s too much sugar.  I typically will drink two shots of espresso mixed into a large cold brew.  I think they call it a Red Eye or something like that.  I call it blood, it’s just so good.


BRRL  If you knew you were going to be stranded on a desert island what are 2 things you'd bring without a doubt?


DC:  A helicopter and plenty of fuel so I can visit many other islands.


BRR:  That makes sense.  Who is on your playlist currently?


DC:  There are so many artists that I have been listening to lately.  The one that I have been enjoying the most is Teenage Wrist, a band on Epitaph Records.  Everything they put out so far has just been fantastic. One of my all time favorite bands is The Neighborhood.  Yellowcard is probably my all time favorite band.  Saosin.  The other dudes have a lot of different tastes too.  Don Broco is another one that we all really like.  Nothing Nowhere is another we enjoy listening to.  There’s so much, honestly, when you’re driving for such long periods of time.  My heavy rotation playlist is absolutely clustered with so many bands.  There is so much great music out there nowadays and the more time you spend discovering it, letting Spotify show you new stuff or going on Pandora stations, the happier you are going to be as a listener.  Just taking the time to find new music is the key.


BRR:  I listen to Octane a lot in the car because they play a lot of the new and upcoming artists and I’ve discovered many that way.  It’s never ending!  Well, thank you very much for your time, Devin, and I look forward to seeing you guys tear up the stage tonight.




Photos by:  Alex Lindsay Photography


©Boston Rock Radio 2018

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